Viral Infections Essay, Research Paper
VIRAL INFECTIONS: THE TRUE WHYS AND WHAT NOWS
It all started with a little tickling in my throat. I forged ahead, knowing all too well what that feeling meant, I was getting sick. I convinced myself to just not think about it and it would just go away. This whole time there was an army of alien species amassing in my bloodstream and older cells. They are horrifyingly ugly, like something straight out of H. R. Geiger?s imagination. They writhe and twitch while they are on the hunt for one of your precious body cells. One can almost imagine them squealing to one another “That?s the one fellas, that is the cell we turn into Fort Viri!!”. Then they attack, attaching their bodies to the cell?s only defense, it?s outer wall. The cunning viri know this dance all too well, the cell has no chance. All too quickly the viri convince the cell, via complex chemical codes to admit the viri into its life blood, the cytoplasm. Soon they would turn this doomed cell into a virus nursery, churning out countless clones of the virus that converted the original cell. I now must resign myself to the fact that I have somehow come into contact with a virus and it has started to multiply in my body. By now the symptoms are undeniable and all encompassing. I have the flu. Viral infections are caused by a host organism taking in and precipitating the reproduction of viruses. These infections bring with them a miriad of symtoms including, but not restricted to fever, general achiness, increased mucous production, and general sluggishness.
This entire chain of events starts when a person comes into contact with a virus. This can happen a number of ways: contact with infected body fluids, contact with the mucous membranes of an infected person, and even inhalation of airborne viri. When one comes into contact with a virus, it wastes no time in making your body it?s new home. It quickly finds a body cell to reproduce in, usually in the body system in which it found access to the body. For example a virus that is inhaled will usually take up residence in the lungs or throat of the host animal. Since the virus has no internal reproductive system, it finds a cell to invade and latches on to it?s cellular membrane. It does this using specialized protein chains, these act as tiny fishing hooks permanently attaching the virus to the host cell. The cell then senses this intrusion and
does the only thing it can, pulling the virus inside of itself and then forming a vesicle or sack around the trespasser. The virus then invades the nucleus of the host cell, injecting its own genetic material and stealing the cell?s genes. This causes the original virus to die, but the process of reproduction has now
been started and cannot be stopped without killing the host cell. Next the cell?s own RNA(Ribonucleic Acid), which duplicates the cells genes so that the cell can divide and reproduce, copies the genes of the virus. This process produces millions upon millions of individual virus chromosomes. These chromosomes then rupture the host cell?s nucleus and attract the necessary components to complete their body structures. Once this is done, there are so many viri inside the host cell that the cell membrane cannot hold any more. The membrane explodes, spewing clones of the original virus far into the host organism?s now diseased body. Each one of the clones has the same motive as the first, create more of itself. This process causes many ill effects in the host organism.
The viral infection will show itself in a variety of symptoms from fever, general achiness, increased mucous production, and general sluggishness. These symptoms all have a very necessary function in the eradication of these viral troopers. The fever is an increase in body temperature. This process causes the host organism to feel very cold in relation to it?s external environment. The general achiness is often centralized in the area of the infection. This is because the host?s white blood cells are actually attacking it?s own cells, for they are in the midst of being transformed into viral reproduction factories. The increase in mucous production is generally associated with respiratory infections and functions to manually sweep as many of the viri from the lungs and bronchial tubes as possible. It does this in conjunction with the cilia, tiny hairs inside the lungs and nose. Together they sweep the contaminated mucous from the lower lobes of the lungs to the nose, where it is expelled with a sneeze. All of these defenses use immense amounts of energy, depressing the other body systems. This results in a feeling of general sluggishness.
All in all a viral infection is not something you want to go through just for the experience of it, although all of us do from one time to another. With a greater understanding of how viruses infect us and an increased awareness of the symptoms surrounding such an infection, maybe we will be able to eradicate these nasty little pests.